Great Quotes from the 2016 Nerd Prom

The annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner allows the President to throw some barbs at himself and the press and is a good time to observe a President’s sense of humor first hand. Known jokingly as the “nerd prom” it gets bigger and bigger every year. And every year, I love posting the President’s best jokes. (Click here for the 2015 list, 2014 list, and the 2013 list).  There are some sigh gag jokes that are not in the transcript below, so you really should just watch the video.

Good evening, everybody. It is an honor to be here at my last — and perhaps the last — White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

You all look great. The end of the Republic has never looked better.

I do apologize — I know I was a little late tonight. I was running on C.P.T. — which stands for “jokes that white people should not make.”

Anyway, here we are. My eighth and final appearance at this unique event. And I am excited. If this material works well, I’m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year.  Earn me some serious Tubmans.

Next year at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot, and it’s anyone’s guess who she will be. But standing here, I can’t help but be reflective, a little sentimental. Eight years ago, I was a young man, full of idealism and vigor, and look at me now.  I am gray and grizzled, just counting down the days ’til my death panel.

For months now congressional Republicans have been saying there are things I cannot do in my final year. You know who you are, Republicans. Security, bar the doors! Judge Merrick Garland, come on out, we’re going to do this right here, right now. It’s like “The Red Wedding.”

Yet, somehow, despite all this, despite the churn, in my final year, my approval ratings keep going up. The last time I was this high, I was trying to decide on my major.

Anyway, in this last year I do have more appreciation for those who have been with me on this amazing ride, like one of our finest public servants, Joe Biden. I love Joe Biden, I really do. And I want to thank him for his friendship, for his counsel, for always giving it to me straight, for not shooting anybody in the face.

I also would like to acknowledge some of the award-winning reporters that we have with us here tonight. Rachel McAdams. Mark Ruffalo. Liev Schreiber.  Thank you all for everything that you’ve done. I’m just joking. As you know, “Spotlight” is a film, a movie about investigative journalists with the resources and the autonomy to chase down the truth and hold the powerful accountable. Best fantasy film since Star Wars.

Sitting at the same table, I see Mike Bloomberg. Mike, a combative, controversial New York billionaire is leading the GOP primary and it is not you. That’s has to sting a little bit. Although it’s not an entirely fair comparison between you and the Donald. After all, Mike was a big-city mayor. He knows policy in depth. And he’s actually worth the amount of money that he says he is.

What an election season. For example, we’ve got the bright new face of the Democratic Party here tonight –- Mr. Bernie Sanders! Bernie, you look like a million bucks. Or to put it in terms you’ll understand, you look like 37,000 donations of 27 dollars each.

A lot of folks have been surprised by the Bernie phenomenon, especially his appeal to young people. But not me, I get it. Just recently, a young person came up to me and said she was sick of politicians standing in the way of her dreams. As if we were actually going to let Malia go to Burning Man this year.

Look, I’ve said how much I admire Hillary’s toughness, her smarts, her policy chops, her experience. You’ve got to admit it, though, Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is a little bit like your relative just signed up for Facebook. “Dear America, did you get my poke?” “Is it appearing on your wall?” “I’m not sure I am using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.”

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, things are a little more — how should we say this — a little “more loose.” Just look at the confusion over the invitations to tonight’s dinner. Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead, a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan.

Well, let me conclude tonight on a more serious note. I want to thank the Washington press corps, I want to thank Carol for all that you do. The free press is central to our democracy, and — nah, I’m just kidding! You know I’ve got to talk about Trump! Come on! We weren’t just going to stop there.

The Republican establishment is incredulous that he is their most likely nominee — incredulous, shocking. They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be President. But, in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.

And there’s one area where Donald’s experience could be invaluable -– and that’s closing Guantanamo. Because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground.

So I want to close my final White House Correspondents’ Dinner by just saying thank you. I’m very proud of what you’ve done. It has been an honor and a privilege to work side by side with you to strengthen our democracy.

And with that, I just have two more words to say -– Obama out. (Drops microphone. No, seriously, he literally dropped the microphone.)

It’s not always racism

Yesterday, I wrote about how we should not listen to white people when they say it’s not about racism, because they’re not the “experts” who really experience it.

However, we should also beware of going too far in the other direction:  sometimes it really is not about racism.

I have often had discussions like this with my clients:

“That cop is a racist!”

“Why do you say that?”

“He treated me terribly and gave me no respect!”

“I know this particular cop very well.  Trust me, he treats everyone like that.”

Sometimes people are a jerk to you not because of your race, but because they’re jerks.  Or maybe it’s because of your dress or attitude.  A white guy dressed as a thug and acting like a gang member also doesn’t get a ton of respect.resized_mlk1-meme-generator-pew-pew-pew-take-that-racism-e177f6

But there really is racism.  Obama talked about how, when he was a Constitutional Law Professor dressed in a suit, he still couldn’t get a taxi.  Black business leaders find themselves being followed in stores despite looking like professional CEOs in all respects.  The fact that blacks get arrested for drug offenses in bigger numbers than whites despite drug use among whites and blacks being pretty equal is another good sign.  There are plenty of other examples.

All I’m saying is: Racism absolutely exists and it is something people deal with every day.  Just don’t automatically assume every time you’re treated bad it’s because of racism.  I have friends who hate Obama but it’s not because they’re racist.  They hated Clinton too.  They hate all liberal politicians.   If Obama was 100% white, they’d still hate him.

For that matter, I can’t stand Al Sharpton, Clarence Thomas, and Herman Cain, but not because of their race.  (And if you think I supported Obama because of his race, well, you might want to ask if you are the racist, unable to see anything but a candidate’s race to determine why anyone  would vote for him.)

However, if your main criticism of Obama is that he’s a Kenyan Muslim who doesn’t look like a “real American” — well, I think that’s a pretty good sign it isn’t just his politics that have you angry.  And if your protest includes a Confederate flag, you might as well stop pretending.